Frugal ways to give back this holiday season

by Karen on November 17, 2008

As tight as our budget has been, I’ve always recognized how good we really had it. Even when our financial situation was at its worst, we always managed to make ends meet. We never came up short for rent, there was always plenty of food on the table, and most importantly we had our health and each other. Life has been pretty good to us so far.

That’s why even during our toughest times, we’ve always looked for ways to give back, particularly to those less fortunate that we are.

I know how it is, though. When you’re struggling to get by, it can be really hard to make room in the budget for charity.

Frugality is about finding ways to live well and give more to the world around you without spending a lot of money. There’s no reason that charity should cost a lot of money, either. Using the same principals you use to stretch your income, you can find frugal ways to give back.

I hope you’ll consider contributing to one of these worthwhile charities or programs in your area this holiday season. Here’s how you can do it without breaking your own budget.

Shop smart for canned foods.

Frugals are masters at stretching a buck in the grocery store. Consider using your coupons, circulars, and grocery know-how to get a bargain on canned food and non-perishables for a local food drive.

Clear some space in your coat closet.

What better way to clear the clutter from your coat closet than by donating to a coat drive? Your gently used coat could make a huge difference for a homeless or impoverished family this year, and it costs you nothing.

Volunteer your time.

If you’re really struggling this season, consider making time to volunteer at a soup kitchen or any charitable organization in need of your help. Giving a few hours on your day off costs very little, but it could make a big difference.

Make it a team effort.

Many churches, schools, and community groups work together for adopt-a-family programs, bake sales, and other fundraisers. The expense isn’t that great if you’re one of several people contributing. If your church or community group doesn’t already participate, volunteer the time to organize a program yourself.

Remember: No donation is too small.

Don’t assume that what you can afford to give isn’t enough. Even if you can only spare $5, I guarantee that no charitable organization will balk at your gift.

If you’re wondering where to send it, here are three of my favorite charities:

Ronald McDonald House

American Cancer Society

Doctors Without Borders

Did I leave something out? Please leave a comment with your favorite charitable program or organization! Let’s all find a way to give back this season!

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{ 3 comments }

1 SC November 17, 2008 at 9:43 am

With regards to your charity comment, it is also worth looking at charity gifts instead of more traditional presents this Christmas – it means you can give a gift both to your friends/family as well as helping someone who is living in poverty in a different country. I particularly like CAFOD’s range of gifts this year as they have a good range of charity presents with lots of different price points.

2 maryanne November 22, 2008 at 8:26 am

Thanks for the great ideas, and I love the three charities you suggested.

3 psuklinkie December 19, 2008 at 7:41 pm

What a great post idea. It’s definitely possible to be generous while staying frugal. I hope to continue to implement these and other great ideas throughout this season and into the future. Thanks!

psuklinkie’s last blog post..Festive Food

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